Day 4

Christ Fulfills the Law

from the The Sermon on the Mount reading plan

Matthew 5:17-20, Psalm 40:6-8, Hosea 6:6, Micah 6:8, Matthew 11:28-30, John 14:23-26

BY Rebecca Faires

Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:17-20, Psalm 40:6-8, Hosea 6:6, Micah 6:8, Matthew 11:28-30, John 14:23-26

When I was sixteen, I was not the sixteen of the movies. I expected that I would go to lots of parties and laugh with lots of boys. Instead, I did Bible quizzing. Do you know what this is? It’s amazing and intense. You basically memorize a book of the Bible and then meet up with other church kids and answer questions. There were even special seats that could sense when you stood up, since we were so quick to answer and the human eye could never have accurately detected who was the first up to “Complete the following verse: ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish…’”

In a flash I was up, “ThelawortheProphetsIhavenotcometoabolishthembuttofulfillthem!!!”

The year I quizzed, we memorized the book of Matthew. I was “Captain Bible Quizzing Nerd Pants.” I wish I had the motivation to memorize Scripture with the tenacity I did when I was sixteen. Back then I threw all my teenage energy into bookish and nerdy pursuits.

This is why the book of Matthew rings with the fervor of sixteen-year-old adrenaline for me. The whole book seemed SO IMPORTANT back then. This passage reminds me that the whole of Scripture is important: not just the parts we obsessed over as teenagers, not just the parts we like, and not just the racy bits in Song of Solomon.

Christ fulfills the whole of Scripture.

Some Jews, weary under the weight of the law, might have wished that Christ would totally abolish it. They, like me, might have wished they could just be free of the law to live as they liked. But the law of the Old Testament provides boundaries and a structure upon which to hang the grace Christ offers in the New Testament.

Imagine a playground high on a mountain. Now, try to stay calm, watching the kids climbing and swinging from up above. I know I would keep all my babies as close as possible, not letting them run because of my fear they would fall. Now imagine this mountain playground is surrounded by a sturdy fence. Suddenly there is freedom to play! The boundary gives freedom.

This is what Christ is saying: the law is excellent, and He fulfills it. If the law is a glass of water, Christ doesn’t pour it out, He fills it up for us. He doesn’t make the law void; He stamps it paid in full!

On the other hand, the Jews believed that anything belonging to God should be preserved—even the least of the commandments, which incidentally, they reckoned was found in Deuteronomy 22:6-7: If you find a bird’s nest, you can take the baby birds, but leave the mother bird (my paraphrase). These jots and tittles—they were the bread and butter of the Pharisees, the Super Law Followers.

But Christ does something truly amazing. He calls us to repent of both our sins AND our righteousness. Our “goodness” is not good enough, our righteousness is not righteous enough. Only Christ’s redemption is enough. The Pharisees obeyed the outside of the law, but we are called to obey the inside of the law, the truth, heart, and substance behind it. So go ahead and pay your tithe, but give God your heart.

It’s only when we realize that even our righteousness isn’t enough, that we can repent and trust ourselves to the righteousness of Christ.


Post Comments (65)

65 thoughts on "Christ Fulfills the Law"

  1. Becky says:

    The relationship of the believing Christian to the OT law has always been a little confusing to me. We obviously no longer make sacrifices or stone adulterers. But other aspects of the law we cherish. So what does Christ fulfilling the law actually mean? I am still to “honor my father and mother” but I no longer have to make a sacrifice if I don’t?

    1. Ashley says:

      Becky, Christ fulfilling the law means that He made the sacrifice needed once and for all… that’s why we no longer have to slaughter an animal each time we don’t uphold it though we are still called to live as “salt and light.”

  2. Allie Stedman says:

    “Called to obey the inside of the law”

  3. Evelyn says:

    I am so thankful for SRT. Every morning I read the scriptures relating to that days devotion and I lobe this but how do I actually study the Word. When I am reading the word I am ashamed to admit it feels no different to reading a book. I don’t have money to spend on the different books that are their to help us study. To he honest the few I have got in the past confuse me all the more. I need instructions laid out clearly and simply I have eventually learned that :-P xxxx

    1. Andrea says:

      Does your church have small groups and/or Bible studies? That helps me. I also listen to sermons online from various pastors. That helps too. Otherwise I’m lost.

    2. Lynne says:

      Reading God’s word is your opportunity to have a conversation with him. Before you read, take time to tell God what’s going on in your life: what your plans for the day are, and what you’re worried about, or excited about (I use a journal to do this part). Ask him to open your heart and mind to the things he will reveal to you in his word. Then when you read, read expectantly. God yearns to have this conversation with you: you will speak to him in prayer, and he will speak to you through his word. Keep at it. Don’t rely on your “feelings” because they are deceiving. Remember that God’s work in us is a process and not usually an instantaneous revelation (although he can do that too!). With time you will experience the awesome power of God revealed in his living word! Don’t give up sister!

  4. Justine Pedro says:

    “But the law of the Old Testament provides boundaries and a structure upon which to hang the grace Christ offers in the New Testament.”

    can you explain what this means a little further.

    1. Joanne says:

      Great study. This is very encouraging. The fulfilling of the law by Christ is not well taught today. It is both His perfect keeping of God’s holy righteous law and His condemnation of adding to that law as the Pharisees did along with His death and resurrection in which the believer dies to self and lives now in Christ.
      I am often, daily, perhaps even more often ashamed of my thoughts, words or actions and amazed that Christ is willing to be my Savior and hide me within Himself

    2. Calista Moran says:

      You might try using a commentary. David Guzik is one of my favorites. You can find all of his work at Added bonus: it’s completely free. ☺️ I just read through his section on our verses in Matthew for today and it may help answer your questions.

  5. Jess says:

    I am struggling with your daily teachings sometimes because they use so much jargon from the christian faith. I am a christian but I am using SheReadsTruth and other communities to grow in my faith. However, it is very difficult when they seem written for those that are already mature in their faith. How can we learn what the bible means if we cannot understand the jargon used to explain it? I think it would be useful if you could explain some of the things you are referencing. For example, I don’t understand what it means that He fulfilled the law? Or, “But the law of the Old Testament provides boundaries and a structure upon which to hang the grace Christ offers in the New Testament.” I have no clue what that means. It would be helpful if you could explain things more plainly.

    1. Nancy says:

      You are not alone… I’m feeling the same way about this. It’s hard to study when you don’t understand part of it and the study doesn’t include references to help you try to understand it. I really want to use SRT to grow my faith but I’m struggling.

    2. Brooke says:

      Hi ladies! May I help explain from my own study?
      So, what she means, and what the scripture means, about the “fulfillment of the Law” is the fact that when’s Jesus died on the cross, that He was the only person EVER to completely fulfill all that the Old Testament law required, and by dying on the Cross as our Savior, He extends the holiness and flawlessness to us.

      The Law Jesus had to follow is extensive, I’m talking from Exodus all the way to Deuteronomy. Every act, thought process, and heart filled act that God commanded the Israelites to do, as the only way to stay holy before God. Now, mankind couldn’t do that, because we are sinful, and that is where the sacrifices came in. Throughout the Law, you will find several passages about acceptable sacrifices so that the people could atone for their breaking of the Law.

      One consistent aspect is the need for the sacrifice to be “flawless”, otherwise, it was a further insult to the Holy God and was only going to make things worse. So when Jesus came, the Israelites were living under this law, and has to repeatedly sacrifice to rectify their standing before God. Jesus came, lived a perfect, flawless life and died as the flawless sacrifice to be enough to not only fulfill every “jot and tittle” the Law required, but to give us a NEW LAW that allows more freedom in who can come to God (normal Jews, not just the priests, and Gentiles, like most people), more access to God (like directly praying to Him in our living room, rather than having to go to a temple), and a life-changing relationship with God that gets into the heart of the Law, GOD’S HEART.

      Because Jesus fulfilled the Law, we have more freedom in how we live because while the boundaries are there, we don’t have to be concerned with the 600+ laws that the people pre-Jesus had to follow. We have to be concerned with whether we are following God’s heart behind giving the Law, because we don’t have to earn our “flawlessness”. Jesus gave it to us, through His death and resurrection.

      I hope this helped and that I didn’t confuse you farther. I would also advise that you find mentors in your churches to help answer these questions! It’s super helpful!

      1. Brea says:

        Awesome explanation, Brooke! I’d also like to add that the law was originally created to show us how unrighteous we are. Without the law we wouldn’t even know how badly we need grace. God created the law knowing we could never uphold it and His plan all along was to send Jesus to be the only one Who could uphold the law. The law humbles us, showing us even our righteous isn’t enough for the Kingdom of God. Our righteousness only can come from Christ and following Him and what He has done. We can never “do” enough on our own. It’s such a weight off my shoulders (I have to remind myself of this often) that if I just follow Christ and have an intimate relationship with Him, that I don’t have to worry about the laws and through me Christ will produce fruits of the Spirit. All I have to do is give Him my every day.

        1. Robin says:

          Brea, a beautiful explanation. Thank you!

      2. Bianca says:

        Thank you so much for sharing!! This helped me understand concepts I didn’t even know I didn’t understand. The story is even more beautiful now and boy am I happy I understand the full picture. Thank you!!!

      3. Karla says:

        Thank you for sharing this Brooke. Your explanation really spoke to me and helped me understand.

    3. Ashley says:

      I have been using SRT for a few years now, and I’m very far from being mature in my faith; I have found it incredibly helpful to use a study bible. It further explains what the passages mean and are saying and then I am able to be in that mindset already when reading the devotion from SRT.

    4. Hailey says:

      Blue Letter Bible is also an extremely helpful study tool!

      1. Cindy says:

        I was going to recommend Blue Letter Bible also. Under the “Study” tab and then “Text Commentaries”. From there you choose an author, I like David Guzik, but there are many to choose from. This website breaks down every book by chapter by verse, it has been so helpful with understanding the readings!

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